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That NFL Amusement Park Called "The Off Season"

How quickly we go from that "Alright!" moment to one of "Oh Crud!"

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

This off season was looking to be really great -- especially the signing of Wes Welker -- when the whole Dumervil FaxGate mess erupted. One moment, we're all going "YES!!!! DOOM's back!!!!" The next "Oh crap!" was echoing through the halls of Bronco fandom. That got me to thinking about the emotional roller coaster that Broncos fans have seemed to ride over the last several years.

I think it all really began back in early 1999 when, after the Broncos had won their second consecutive Super Bowl and fans were going "Alright," they had their elation dashed by the announcement of John Elway's retirement ("Oh crap!"). Other, more recent events have included:

2009 - the firing of Mike Shanahan as head coach (an "alright" or "oh crap" reaction depending on what you felt about him at the time) which eventually led to the trading away of QB Jay Cutler (again an "alright" or "oh crap" moment depending on your perspective).

2010 - the arrival of the Tim Tebow circus (referring to his advocates, not the man himself) in Denver.

2012 - the "will he or won't he" angst regarding Peyton Manning as the Manning Derby unfolded.

There are many other instances of Broncos fans having their emotion rise up or fall down by events unfolding in the off season. All of this prompted me to wonder if this off season roller coaster ride was unique to the Broncos, or if other teams experienced a similar phenomenon in their off seasons. So, I did what any curious person might do (well, maybe not anyone since I tend to get a bit obsessive when something piques my curiosity) and sent emails to the SBNation blogs of the other thirty-one NFL teams.

As of the writing of this article, I have received responses from twelve of the blogs. Three were requests for more information. If I receive any more responses in the next couple of days, I will add them to the article. Here are their responses:

Arizona Cardinals

While Cardinals fans seem to be in the same amusement park as Broncos fans, we are on a different ride. Since Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season, Cards fans have been riding the quarterback carousel.

In that time, Arizona has placed seven different quarterbacks in the game, ranging from Max Hall to the recently released Kevin Kolb.

Because of that, it seems that every year Cardinals fans are wondering who the next signal caller to be thrown into the fire will be. In 2013, all signs point to Drew Stanton unless Arizona decides to take a rookie somewhat high in the draft.

While Arizona continues to try and find their next QB, the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams keep getting better. It's shaping up to be another rough year in the desert all because the Cardinals can't seem to find a way to get off the ride.

Tyler Nickel, Revenge of the Birds

Washington Redskins

Happy to share. Dan Snyder used Cerrato as a puppet those horror years (pre 2010). Redskins are drafting so well last 3 years
Ive learned fans for every team get super critical/bitchy about something at all times. Like when the Redskins hired AJ SMITH as a consultant, people went ballistic. The guy is in a consultant role and had no authority to make decisions. I try to stay away from the comments sections those days! Ha.

Kevin Ewoldt, Hogs Haven

Baltimore Ravens

Not really, as the Ravens aren't usually making huge splashes in FA. However, this year, the fans have been on the 200 foot drop with no upturn in many opinions due to the post Super Bowl player purge over the past few weeks.

Bruce Raffel, Baltimore Beat Down

Cincinnati Bengals

Oh boy. Don't know where to start. Is there anything specific you need (so I don't spend the next 2 weeks writing a book)?

For one thing the Bengals are never spenders during the first week of free agency, which generates the highest levels of anxiety among fans. It's crazy, but understandable.

Josh Kirkendall, Cincy Jungle

Green Bay Packers

Somehow, Packers fans have failed to realized that the Super Bowl is not won in March. Even though the team has been a consistent contender for 20 years, with Super Bowl victories from both the current QB/Coach/GM combination and one in the 1990s, everyone bemoans the lack of big free agent signings and/or departures over and over. Next season, the Packers will make the playoffs again and Ted Thompson's approval rating will be high. In March, he won't sign any free agents and people will proclaim that he should be fired if the team doesn't win the division at the bare minimum. In March, Thompson's a donkey. In December, he's the best GM in the league. Like clockwork, every year.

Kevin McCauley, Acme Packing Company

Detroit Lions

Lions offseasons before they finally returned to the playoffs in 2011 had a pretty consistent theme -- get excited about the moves they make in free agency and the draft and become optimistic about their chances of making the playoffs. Sure, there were coaching changes mixed in every few years to shake things up, but the general theme remained, especially the part where we ended up being disappointed by season's end.

Last year, the theme was different. The Lions were coming off of their first playoff appearance in more than a decade, and it wasn't the same sense of optimism, especially with there being so many arrests over the course of the offseason. It was more of a situation where fans wondered if the Lions would be able to maintain their winning ways. As we found out in 2012, they were unable to do that, and now we are back to our old ways. Fans are getting excited about the moves the Lions have made, and there's already a sense of optimism about next season.

Admittedly, there's also a sense that the front office and coaching staff are entering a make-or-break season, meaning we could be in for quite the roller coaster ride next offseason, but it's a pretty familiar combination of hope and optimism for Lions fans right now.

Sean Yullie, Pride of Detroit

San Diego Chargers

Wish I could help more, but Chargers' offseasons are usually very quiet in comparison to Broncos'.

John Gennaro, Bolts From the Blue

Carolina Panthers

To a degree I think Panthers' fans are on an off-season roller coaster -- but one that routinely jumps the rails, plows through a neighboring petting zoo, and end up cutting a swath of death an destruction.

Seriously though, there are no ups and downs in Panther-land. The team has been woefully predictable over the last five years. They refuse to pay for marquee free agents, and channel those dollars into over-paying their own talent. Now they're stuck in cap hell -- resigned to one-year deals for over the hill players, and unproven guys.

James Dator, Cat Scratch Reader

New Orleans Saints

Have Saints fans had to deal with an off-season rollercoaster?

Ummm...there was this little thing called Bountygate not too long ago. That was a bit of a roller coaster. :-)

I genuinely think Bountygate was the biggest rollercoaster any team has ever had to ride in the off-season. Lasted the entire year, actually, and directly affected their on-field product in 2012.

Dave Cariello, Canal Street Chronicles

I think we can see from this small sampling of other fans blogs that the Broncos are not particularly unique in providing their fans with some off season, shall we call it, "entertainment." I am also certain that these sorts of things tend to go in cycles. We just happen to be in the part of the cycle that sees lots of crazy things happen (like snafus in fax technology). Personally, however, I could do with a "quiet" off season sometime.

Go Broncos!!!!